I write this letter to Stillwater citizens to bring to their attention their City Council and Washington County Board members and a situation that is just plain wrong and unjust.
The Terra Springs condominium site was developed by the city of Stillwater on the old prison grounds on North Main Street. The site preparation costs for development were financed by a bond. The city and developer devised a minimum assessment agreement that applied only to this building site. The agreement states that property valuation for tax purposes can never fall below an arbitrary fixed level, no matter what the actual dollar amount a Terra Springs unit sells for.
This is totally unique to Stillwater. No other property is subject to a similar agreement. The city and the developer did not disclose this agreement to any purchaser. The agreement was filed at the courthouse and does show up in the fine print on page 19 the 20-page title insurance policy, but not in the sale paperwork.
None of the Terra Spring residents were aware of the agreement. The city apparently couldn’t find it either, because the assessor didn’t enforce the agreement for a couple years as prices fell with the recession. Through some fluke, the assessor came across the agreement and they are now enforcing it. There has been lots of sympathy and apologies etc., but the residents are stuck with this “secret” agreement.
Please beware of City Hall, they appear to be capable of almost anything. This agreement is arbitrary and wrong. When I was raised, I was told that government was meant to serve and protect you. Things have certainly changed.